The Boathouse Palm Beach

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I’ve now been to all three The Boathouse restaurants on Sydney’s northern beaches. All are set in beautiful waterside locations, but Palm Beach is my favourite. Why? It’s virtually on The Pittwater and feels more like a boathouse than the others. Half of the seating looks over the Pittwater, and the other half is under shady umbrellas and trees in its own secluded courtyard out the front. If the sweeping views across to West Head National Park aren’t enough, continue down the jetty that runs alongside the building, and immerse yourself further in the Pittwater experience. The menu is the same – I love the consistency. The scones are crispy and slightly toasted, and these are already cut in half. The spread errs on the generous side, and if you aren’t too hungry is enough to share. The jam and cream are good enough – the jam is average and the fresh cream is on the light side – but there’s room for improvement, and the handful of fresh strawberries are always a welcome treat. Try a yoga class in the space upstairs that offers million-dollar views to help find your Zen. Sunday dining incurs a 10 per cent surcharge.

Scones: 

Jam:

Cream:

Tea: A basic selection of quality loose-leaf teas served in a Japanese style cast iron teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: The location over Pittwater actually feels like a boathouse.

Location: Governor Phillip Park, Barrenjoey Beach, Palm Beach NSW 2108
Ph: 02 9974 5440 theboathousepb.com.au
Reviewed in April, 2016

 

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City Extra Parramatta

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Just one of two City Extra outlets in Sydney, this one in Parramatta is subdued compared to the Circular Quay location. It’s virtually empty at lunchtime on Saturday. Located on the Church Street restaurant strip, City Extra is perfectly placed in the middle of the action and remains open 24/7 for late night munchies. The menu claims that all food is baked fresh on the premises daily, and that includes the scones. Really, how hard is it to bake scones to order? You don’t heat up pancakes? This spread is identical to the one I had in Circular Quay, which says something about City Extra’s consistency. The scones are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and although they’re probably made from a commercial scone mix (I don’t know – just saying), the scones rank up there as some of the better one’s I’ve eaten. But what can make or break a Devonshire Tea worth eating is the quality of the jam and cream. Here the jam and the fresh light cream are adequate, but not a stand out feature. But bravo for the freshly baked scones!

Scones: 

Jam:

Cream: 

Tea: A basic selection of Twinings tea bags served in a standard tea pot.

Price: $$

Overall: The ‘go to’ place for an after hours scone craving.

Location: 301 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150 Ph: 02 9633 1188
Reviewed in April, 2016

 

Dunes Kiosk Palm Beach

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Pretty Governor Phillip Park is about as far as you can get your car north along Sydney’s shoreline. If you want to go further it is by foot up to Barrenjoey Head, the dominating feature of Palm Beach’s skyline. Palm Beach is the location for the television show, ‘Home and Away’s’ Summer Bay. Even the Surf Life Saving buggy has Summer Bay plastered across its bumper – just in case you didn’t know. Although I am grateful for all the wonderful Aussie talent that the show has turned out, I’m not a fan. Instead I’m here to absorb the posh and ‘I’m-still-in-Sydney-although-it-feels-like-I-am-a-million-miles-away’ vibe. Dunes Kiosk and Restaurant is in Governor Phillip Park just behind the ‘Summer Bay’ Surf Life Saving Club. It doesn’t have ocean views but is a sweet spot nonetheless. The Kiosk is attached to the pricey restaurant and has enough seating that’s either undercover, out on the grass (good for dogs), or in little cute beach booths. The scone is more bread roll than scone and is very ordinary. A shame a chef from next door can’t rustle up a batch of scones. The fresh cream is so light it almost dissolves mid-air and the single tiny sachet of jam is a joke for the size of the scone. I wish they would go easy on the cardboard; my tea doesn’t need two cups, especially since I am dining in. Their waste collection must be colossal!

Scones: 

Jam: 

Cream: 

Tea: A small selection of T2 pyramid teabags served in a paper takeaway cup.

Price: $$

Overall: Very disappointing quality but top points for the lovely location.

Location: 1193 Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach NSW 2108 Ph: 02 9974 3332
Reviewed in April, 2016